Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

29 Sep 2008

Any Given Sunday: Chiefs over Broncos

by Ned Macey

One thing that was interesting about the Chiefs' 33-19 upset of Denver was that the Broncos had been awful as a pass defense before this week, but they were decent on Sunday. Damon Huard averaged fewer than 8 yards per completion.

Having not watched a great deal of Denver this year, I was curious to see how a team would attack their big-name secondary. The answer, at least for Kansas City, remains "avoid Champ Bailey at all costs." The Chiefs frequently threw in front of Dre' Bly, who they obviously thought gave up too much cushion. Bly gave up some plays underneath but held his own when the ball went downfield. The Chiefs' big plays were instead surrendered by rookie cornerback Jack Williams.

On their one touchdown pass, they did go to Tony Gonzalez against Bailey -- but it was Boss Bailey who had decent coverage but not good enough to stop the Hall of Famer.

I suspect that a major problem is pass rush, and Elvis Dumervil's ever-decreasing playing time cannot help. The Chiefs makeshift line only allowed one sack. Denver is 28th in adjusted sack rate, and until they pressure the quarterback, their pass defense will struggle.

Posted by: Ned Macey on 29 Sep 2008

15 comments, Last at 02 Oct 2008, 12:30am by Bowl Game Anomaly


by zip (not verified) :: Tue, 09/30/2008 - 4:20pm

Hey guys, it's really unclear when you post articles like this with a few paragraphs AND a link to an article on another site. I'd suggest including a link to the ESPN article on the first line (i.e. Full article here, additional comments below) so that people don't think AGS is just these few paragraphs.

Justmy two cents.

by resident jenius :: Tue, 09/30/2008 - 4:23pm


Ned Macey is a great writer but this year Any Given Sunday has been pathetic. This ESPN/lowest-common-denominator tripe is below you.

For shame FO, for shame.

by Conflagration on the Dance Floor (not verified) :: Tue, 09/30/2008 - 5:00pm

I don't agree. ESPN's (inexplicable) word count limit definitely cuts into the analysis, but I thought this article packed an impressive number of specifics into a short span, without being scattered. I think AGS has improved week by week as its authors adjust to the new format, and I think this week continues the improvement.

by aarongongaware (not verified) :: Tue, 09/30/2008 - 4:52pm

Would Denver be better served to have Bailey line up opposite the opponents #1WR more often? As it is, he is always on the right side of the defense and opponents have lined up their #1WR on the left side, away from Bailey. Is there a reason he has to stay on that side? Bly is a serviceable player, but he isn't Champ Bailey. You would think that you would want your best defender matched up against the receiver most likely to hurt you. It's not as if they haven't changed his role up at times in the past. I can remember plenty of times when Denver wasn't too scared by Kansas City and San Diego wide receivers and would have Bailey matchup against Gonzalez and Gates.

But, in the end, that is a minor problem compared to the complete disaster that is the defensive line. Until that line can conjure up some pressure on the QB, there won't be much Bailey or Bly can do in coverage.

by Independent George :: Tue, 09/30/2008 - 6:10pm

I assume it's because the Broncos don't always play man, so having Bailey shadow the #1 receiver all the time tips off the offense whether it'll be man or zone coverage.

by The Ninjalectual :: Tue, 09/30/2008 - 7:21pm

Would the Broncos defense improve if they played more man coverage? It's not like this zone scheme has been working for them the past couple of years.

I wonder what the game charting data says--if it's even possible to determine man vs. zone based on the television coverage--but I would bet their defensive DVOA improves dramatically when they play man instead of zone.

[/Redskins homer living in the Denver tee-vee area]

by Bowl Game Anomaly :: Thu, 10/02/2008 - 12:30am

Why can't Bailey line up across from the #1 receiver regardless of whether Denver is playing man or zone?

(Formerly "The McNabb Bowl Game Anomaly")

by Raffy (not verified) :: Tue, 09/30/2008 - 5:44pm

Enough is enough!
The only way to get rid of the ESPN beast, free Ned and pay him what he is worth is for the readers to take action. First, buy a subscription to Premium DVOA, even if you never use it. Second, send an FO hyperlink to every football watching friend you have - yes, that includes your rivals in the Football Pool and Fantasy leagues. The increased traffic will translate into more ad revenue for FO.

by The Ninjalectual :: Tue, 09/30/2008 - 7:13pm

Is this a popular article on ESPN? I would be much more willing to accept this sellout/decline in quality analysis if it's working for you in the long run. But if it's not especially popular there and might end up on FO next year anyway, why not just go all out and try to do it right?

Sorry to continue criticizing so harshly when FO and Ned have brought nothing but good into my life, but it's sad that the ESPN format just doesn't suit this kind of analysis.

[/Redskins homerism]

by tornadot :: Tue, 09/30/2008 - 8:13pm

So what's the average word count on these articles being hosted on ESPN as opposed to when they were on FO only?

by KamMoye :: Wed, 10/01/2008 - 11:42pm

1200 on ESPN. Don't know what they used to be, however...

by Kiril Savino (not verified) :: Tue, 09/30/2008 - 9:28pm

For the record, new site design, new linking strategy... all suck.

by ammek :: Wed, 10/01/2008 - 3:28am

The Broncos have a fundamental problem with their defense.

Yes, it's called Bob Slowik.

by b-rick (not verified) :: Wed, 10/01/2008 - 5:27am

Denver'd DL is so bad that they have to put 8 in the box to stop the run AND they can only get pressure from the blitz. Dummerville can be effective playing with a lead, as he is a poor man's dwight freeny.

CUtler's biggest weakness is his arm. He has so much talent and confidence that he can make any throw that he often takes too many chances with questionable throws, even though he gets away with it much of the time. In that regard he is like Elway in the Dan Reeves years or like how Brett Favre has been his entire career.

by DrObvious - I promise... (not verified) :: Wed, 10/01/2008 - 3:18pm

I'm wondering if there might be value in Denver trading Dumervil to a 3-4 defensive team. If the wrap is that he's undersized, well, undersized 4-3 ends = 3-4 OLB. I'm sure Cleveland would love to trade away a few picks for another defensive upgrade.